It has been a great week for cyclist Karl Allen-Dobson. First of all he was named the Overall Torbay Sports Personality of the Year 2018 at the Torbay Sports Awards – and on Monday he was invited to defend his two Invictus Games gold medals in Sydney later this year.

The 35-year old was injured in a bomb-blast in Iraq during his career in the Army, and used cycling to get over the trauma of the event.

Last year he was invited to take part in the Invictus Games in Canada and came home with two gold medals.

“The cycling team is stronger and more experienced this year”, said Karl. “We have more potential to be winning medals throughout the categories”.

Karl became the 2018 Torbay Sports Personality at the Riviera International Conference Centre last Thursday – after winning the Parasport category and being shortlisted in the Senior category, which was won by England under-20s women’s rugby star Lillian Goddard.

Around 200 people of all ages enjoyed the evening of celebration.

Saluting success both on and off the field was at the top of the agenda as stars of today, tomorrow and volunteers who make sport possible were honoured at a gala dinner and awards night.

The awards- which were taken back under the wing of Torbay Council and Physical Activity Officer Kirsty Parker-Calland, with the Town Hall events team, and the Herald Express as media partners – were declared a resounding success.

The bar was set for the night with an energetic and lively display by the South Devon College Fitness Instructors Training Academy at the start of the awards. The inspirational guest speaker was Paralympian Dave Hill.

Herald Express editor Jim Parker hosted the awards and said at the opening: “Events like these sit right in the heart of our community and recognise some people who would otherwise never be saluted or want to be saluted. It’s a night when politics, differences of opinion and factions are put to one side. A night where we recognise the very best of sport in Torbay.”

He added: “Sport and amateur sport is going through a tricky time. It would seem it is becoming more and more difficult to get people into sport, to stay in sport, and give something back to sport. But there are still loads of success stories to celebrate both on and off the field and there is still a huge band of volunteers, young and old, that are doing their bit and beyond. They are the people who will ensure sport has a future in Torbay.”

“Clubs and individuals have done us proud locally, nationally and on the world stage like the Tolchards and the Ainsley’s, but it is also about the little Johnny’s taking part in their first sack race at school that will keep sport alive in the Bay and will give just as much joy.”

Torbay Mayor Gordon Oliver said in his address: “This is our chance to celebrate and recognise the people, clubs and organisations that make sport such an important and vibrant part of Torbay’s community. The awards have now grown in stature and popularity and are a highlight and well-established date in the sporting calendar.”

“There is so much to salute out in the sporting arena, whether it involves elite athletes competing at the very highest of levels or the volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes. They will have all displayed dedication, passion, commitment, enthusiasm and devotion in their particular fields. We just want to say thank you to all of them.”

Parker praised Mayor Oliver for donating half of this year’s allowance to good causes in the Bay, including many out in the sporting arena.

Category sponsors – Parkwood Leisure working in partnership with Lex Leisure, Sport Torbay, Baker Estates Ltd, Torbay Council Events Team, Active Devon, Riviera International Conference Centre, Premier, Wollen Michelmore Solicitors and Torbay Council Public Health Team – were thanked for their support.

So, too, were the panel of judges – Richard Hughes (Herald Express), Alan Hart (Friends of South Devon College), Robert Loxton (Chairman of Sport Torbay), Lauren Hutchings (Active Devon), Cllr Jackie Stockman (Executive Lead for Health and Wellbeing) and Cllr Robert Excell (Executive Lead for Sport) – who were faced with a high number of quality entire.

Almost £500 was raised for the Friends of South Devon College who were the designated charity for the night.

Healthy School of the Year (sponsored by Premier)

Winner: St Margaret’s Academy
Finalists: Our Lady of the Angels Catholic School, Furzeham Primary & Nursery School and Ellacombe Academy

Health Champion of the Year (sponsored by Parkwood Leisure in partnership with Lex Leisure)

Winner: Josh Hardwidge
Finalists: Lynn Squire, Ross Millar and Zoe Bowden

Young Volunteer of the Year (sponsored by Active Devon)

Winner: Olivia O’Connor
Finalists: Jack Thompson, Charley Warren and Molly Anderson

Coach of the Year

Winner: Charlotte Haigh
Finalists: Grant Fisher, Ross Millar and Chris Tonge

Team of the Year (sponsored by Wollen Michelmore Solicitors)

Winner: Dart Lightning Netball Team
Finalists: Stroke City Football Team, Torbay ParkRun Volunteer Team and South Devon School of Gymnastics Level 3 Team

Parasport Personality of the Year

Winner: Karl Allen-Dobson

Promising Young Athlete of the Year

Winner: Abi Martin
Finalists: Jakub Piwowar, Frazer Cox and Jasper Wilkes

Club of the Year (sponsored by Torbay Council Public Health Team)

Winner: South Devon School of Gymnastics
Finalists: Apollo Sports Club, Dart Netball Club, Torbay Tri Club

Unsung Hero of the Year (sponsored by Sport Torbay)

Winner: Sean Philpot
Finalists: Sue Jarvis, Joyce Rainbird, Tony Medlock and Malcolm Grant

Junior Sports Personality of the Year (sponsored by Baker Estates LTD)

Winner: Megan Kirby
Finalists: Damon Hutchinson, Jack Cox and Harrison Wood

Senior Sports Personality of the Year (sponsored by the Riviera International Conference Centre)

Winner: Lillian Goddard
Finalists: Rebecca Roots, Karl Allen-Dobson and Tom Fannon

Overall Torbay Sports Personality of the Year 2018 (sponsored by Torbay Council Events Team)

Winner: Karl Allen-Dobson